La Fortuna Hotels: Where We Stay Around Arenal Costa Rica
Last updated on May 10th, 2022 at 11:11 am EST
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Some of the information below is an excerpt from our La Fortuna city guide:
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- We know La Fortuna hotels!
- An overview of La Fortuna hotels
- Our guide to La Fortuna hotels
- Map of La Fortuna hotels
We know La Fortuna hotels!
In addition to being our favorite destination, La Fortuna is one of two places in Costa Rica that we’re proud to call home. We’ve done so (off and on) since 2007, and over the years we’ve experienced just about everything there is to do in the Arenal region, including overnight stays at several La Fortuna hotels so we can report back to you on what makes each unique. If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica and are asking yourself, “Where should I stay in La Fortuna?“, look no further than our La Fortuna hotel guide below. It explores the Arenal hotels we choose to stay at and, unlike other La Fortuna hotel guides that simply summarize information that’s widely available online and in print, it’s based on local knowledge and firsthand experience.
An overview of La Fortuna hotels
La Fortuna attracts such as wide range of visitors in part due to the plethora of accommodation options in and around town. Accommodation options vary across type (e.g., hostels, hotels, lodges, resorts, and airbnbs/vacation home rentals), structure (e.g., low-rise buildings, high-rise buildings, and individual bungalows/cabins/villas), style (e.g., modern, classic, rustic, and outdated), size (e.g., some properties only offer a handful of rooms and others have more than 50 rooms), features and amenities (e.g., adjoining rooms, on-site hot springs or a spa, on-site trails or adventure tours, and a complimentary breakfast), and price (e.g., a bed in a hostel dorm can be obtained for $15/night but private villas at resort-quality accommodations run over $1,000/night). Several hotels in La Fortuna recognize Costa Rica’s high and low seasons and change their prices accordingly. Click here for more information about Costa Rica’s high and low seasons, including when is the least expensive time to visit (trips to La Fortuna included).
La Fortuna accommodations also differ by location. Though most economy accommodations cluster around downtown La Fortuna, other accommodations of standard quality, superior quality, and resort quality are found in the environs, mainly along Road 142 as it departs from downtown La Fortuna to the west and curves around the Arenal Volcano. Along (and just off of) this road is where several of La Fortuna’s top-rated accommodations are located. Though these accommodations can sit anywhere from a 5-minute drive to a 15-minute drive outside of downtown La Fortuna, most are still considered “La Fortuna hotels” by tour operators. This means that the La Fortuna tour operators and adventure parks that automatically include complimentary transportation to/from La Fortuna hotels with their tours will include a pick-up and drop-off service at these hotels for free. For more information about this topic, please see our related blog post: Costa Rica Tour Transportation: Hotel Pick-Ups And Drop-Offs.
Our guide to La Fortuna hotels
Every year, new hotels pop up in and around La Fortuna. Others are renovated, undergo a change in ownership, rebrand under a new name, or close their doors permanently; the landscape is everchanging. If you want to learn more about the hotels we choose to stay at in the Arenal vicinity, don’t miss our always-evolving guide to La Fortuna hotels below. Hotels are listed alphabetically.
Arenal Observatory Lodge
The Arenal Observatory Lodge sits southwest of downtown La Fortuna, on a side road that juts off from the road to El Castillo.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to the Arenal Observatory Lodge: 35 minutes
Of all the La Fortuna hotels covered in this guide, the Arenal Observatory Lodge provides the most immersion in nature. If you don’t mind being stationed a half-hour outside of town, you’ll be rewarded with time spent at a quiet, remote-feeling, family-friendly lodge set on a forested property full of nature trails. Adjacent to the Arenal Volcano National Park (for more information about the park, don’t miss our related blog post: Why You Should (And Shouldn’t) Visit The Arenal Volcano National Park), the property is replete with wildlife, is a great spot for bird-watching, and even has its own waterfall, hanging bridge, and mini volcano museum. Accommodation options range from beds in a shared casona to private superior rooms to a large vacation villa. Most rooms don’t have televisions in order to help guests fully appreciate their surroundings. There’s a restaurant with a great volcano view on-site (you can take in the view while enjoying the complimentary buffet breakfast), and the lodge provides shuttle services into and out of La Fortuna if you don’t have your own rental car, though having one is a huge advantage.
What we love best: This hotel is smack dab in La Fortuna’s rainforest where it’s easy to hike, bird-watch, spot wildlife, photograph a waterfall, and admire the Arenal Volcano at a close distance—all within walking distance of your room.
Tip: If you choose a standard room, request one in the main building with a balcony so you can enjoy the volcano view.
Choose the Arenal Observatory Lodge if you plan on spending a fair amount of time at your hotel and you’d like to spend some of that time exploring nature. Having a rental car, so you can explore nearby attractions and travel into and out of La Fortuna as you please is a major plus.
Arenal Roca Lodge
Arenal Roca Lodge sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to Arenal Roca Lodge: 12 minutes
Off the tourist radar is Arenal Roca Lodge (formerly Carlos Lodge, Arenal Bungalows, and Alma Arenal Garden), one of our favorite low-cost, low-fuss places to stay near La Fortuna. This rustic, pet-family, family-friendly place isn’t much more than a few rows of wooden bungalows with parking spots out back, but that’s why it’s so affordable—the lodge doesn’t charge you for a long list of services, facilities, and amenities that you may never use. The bungalows are simply outfitted with beds, a table, and television, but all provide a jaw-dropping, unobstructed, front-row view of the Arenal Volcano from a giant sliding-door window. A small reception marks the entrance to the property. No restaurant or other services are provided on-site.
What we love best: This lodge proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune to be able to wake up each morning and be treated to a spectacular volcano view.
Tip: Ask to stay in one of the bungalows in the first row (immediately beyond the reception); it provides a view of the volcano that’s unobstructed by other bungalows.
Choose Arenal Roca Lodge if you don’t plan to spend much time at your hotel and you don’t need breakfast included in the rate, but you want to enjoy a beautiful view of the volcano.
Arenal Springs Resort & Spa
The Arenal Springs Resort & Spa sits west of downtown La Fortuna, just north of Road 142 at the community of La Palma.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to the Arenal Springs Resort & Spa: 11 minutes
There’s a lot to love about the sprawling, family-friendly Arenal Springs Resort & Spa (not to be confused with The Springs Resort & Spa, a similarly named Arenal hotel that’s also easy to love). This place has beautiful thermal-water pools, a swim-up bar that serves sushi, an elegant but casual restaurant, a spa, and a yoga deck. The warm rooms are set in duplexes that have a private parking space, covered outdoor seating area, and volcano view out front. The bathrooms bring the outdoors in through the use of stone walls, skylights, and tropical plants. As added bonuses, the complimentary buffet breakfast and service provided by resort staff have been above average during each of our visits.
What we love best: This hotel is great for couples, families, and friends. If you’re part of a couple, you’ll find the restaurant and hot springs to have a romantic atmosphere, and if you’re part of a travel group, you’ll love that some of the duplexes feature adjoining rooms.
Tip: If you’re a bird-watcher, ask the reception for a free bird list. If you want to treat yourself to a taste of luxury, reserve a master suite (for 4-10 people) outfitted with an in-room thermal-water Jacuzzi.
Choose the Arenal Springs Resort & Spa if you want to stay at a superior-quality hotel with lovely hot springs.
Casa Luna Hotel & Spa
The Casa Luna Hotel & Spa sits southwest of downtown La Fortuna along the road to the La Fortuna Waterfall.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to the Casa Luna Hotel & Spa: 6 minutes
Though most La Fortuna hotels fall along Road 142, the main road that departs from downtown La Fortuna to the west and travels around the Arenal Volcano to Arenal Lake, there are a handful of hotels that sit on the southwest side of town, near the La Fortuna Waterfall (for more information about the waterfall, don’t miss our related blog post: Visiting The All-New La Fortuna Waterfall And Orchid Garden). One such hotel and arguably the nicest in the area is the Casa Luna Hotel & Spa, a charming, family-friendly property that houses quaint rooms in a few two-story buildings that resemble residences. Though the classic rooms feel a bit outdated being void of modern stylings, they are comfortable and come with a front porch or balcony that faces the Arenal Volcano. You’ll also find a pool, a separate private-feeling swimming groto enveloped in tropical foliage, and a restaurant on-site. We were pleased to see that the hotel’s complimentary buffet breakfast incorporated authentic Costa Rican foods, like picadillo, budin, and plátano maduro (for more information about Costa Rican foods, see our related blog post: Costa Rica Food Guide: 30 Things To Eat In Costa Rica And When To Eat Them).
What we love best: Though the hotel isn’t a known bird-watching site, it will surprise you with sightings of many different types of tropical birds which flock to a feeder positioned in front of the restaurant. Visit with your camera ready to go!
Tip: If you’re not opposed to climbing a flight of stairs, request a room on the second floor to have a better view of the volcano from above the property’s tropical gardens.
Choose the Casa Luna Hotel & Spa if you want to stay at a La Fortuna hotel that nears the La Fortuna Waterfall.
Hotel Campo Verde
Hotel Campo Verde sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to Hotel Campo Verde: 11 minutes
The individual wooden casitas that form the family-friendly Hotel Campo Verde are basic—but lovely—and affordable. Inside each one, you’ll find a bed or two, a bathroom, a seating area, and a television; out front, there’s another seating area under a covered porch that’s perfect for taking in a close-up view of the Arenal Volcano. A nature trail that’s great for bird-watching weaves around the property. A light buffet breakfast is included in the nightly rate.
What we love best: This hotel, sitting on the south side of Road 142, is closer to the volcano than most other La Fortuna hotels. Not only will you find the volcano view to be amazing, but also the room price to be fair.
Tip: Stay here the night before you participate in an organized tour that provides breakfast or the night before you plan to explore downtown La Fortuna, so you can skip the hotel’s light fare for a heartier breakfast elsewhere.
Choose Hotel Campo Verde if you want to stay as close as possible to the volcano without blowing your budget.
Hotel El Silencio del Campo
Hotel El Silencio del Campo sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to Hotel El Silencio del Campo: 7 minutes
You can find plenty of rustic accommodations in La Fortuna but few are as pretty as the individual family-friendly villas at Hotel El Silencio del Campo. From the clean interiors with high ceilings and chandelier lighting to the property’s manicured tropical gardens, this place feels refined. On-site hot springs and farm tours add extra value, as does the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. Though not every villa faces the volcano; it can be seen from different places around the property.
What we love best: The hotel’s separate shower/toilet and sink/mirror areas make it easy for you and your travel mate(s) to get ready at the same time, helping you save precious vacation time for more doing, seeing, and relaxing during your trip.
Tip: Request a villa with a volcano view.
Choose Hotel El Silencio del Campo if you want to stay at a hotel that has both a rustic feel and sophisticated touches.
Hotel Los Lagos
Hotel Los Lagos sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to Hotel Los Lagos: 8 minutes
Offering great value and a close-up volcano view is the family-friendly Hotel Los Lagos, which has crisp and clean rooms, a slew of wildlife exhibits (including areas dedicated to frogs, crocodiles, butterflies, turtles, and ants), a restaurant that serves a bountiful complimentary breakfast (complete with a tortilla-making station), and its own mild zip-line tour. It is also home to the Los Lagos Hot Springs (learn more in our La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide: Los Lagos Hot Springs Review), a series of thermal-water pools with Jacuzzis and swim-up bars that hotel guests can use for free. There’s also a cold-water pool with a waterslide. Note, however, that because the hot springs here are open to non-hotel guests via the purchase of a public hot springs pass, the pools (and property overall) can feel busy.
What we love best: This hotel jams a lot into its nightly rate, making it easy to cross a bunch of experiences off your to-do list all in one place.
Tip: Upgrade from a standard room to a superior room. Superior rooms are roomy, more modern, and sit much closer to the reception, restaurant, exhibits, and hot springs, sparing you long walks across the property.
Choose Hotel Los Lagos if you want to stay at a hotel that offers a lot of bang for your buck, even if that means compromising on privacy, solitude, and/or romance.
Hotel Vista del Cerro
Hotel Vista del Cerro sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to Hotel Vista del Cerro: 3 minutes
Great for budget-minded travelers is Hotel Vista del Cerro, an affordable, two-story, motel-style hotel that’s refreshingly plain and simple. You won’t find much inside the rooms here, save for a bed, television, and bathroom, or outside of the rooms beyond the small reception and a swimming pool, but the fair price reflects this. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate; it’s served at the small, traditional restaurant next door.
What we love best: This hotel is suitable for visitors without a rental car. It sits on the outskirts of downtown La Fortuna but remains within walking distance (an approximate half-hour stroll). If you’d prefer not to walk into town, several restaurants are within steps of the hotel.
Tip: The view of the volcano isn’t ideal from the rooms, but you can get a wide-open shot if you look west up Road 142 just beyond the reception.
Choose Hotel Vista del Cerro if you want to stay at a place that’s within walking distance of downtown La Fortuna but isn’t set in the heart of the bustling town.
La Pradera del Arenal
La Pradera del Arenal sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to La Pradera del Arenal: 4 minutes
Tucked away off the main road that curves around the Arenal Volcano is La Pradera del Arenal, which is essentially two hotels in one: a one-story, motel-style hotel and a collection of individual wooden cabins. Regardless of which accommodation you pick, you’ll have access to a seating area on a covered front porch where you can take in a view of the Arenal Volcano and the property’s landscaped gardens, which include palms, ferns, and colorful heliconias. Inside each room are beds, a television, a mini-fridge, a safe, and a bathroom. Around the property, you can swim in pools, relax poolside on lounge chairs under Tiki-style shades, or shop in the hotel’s massive souvenir emporium. Surprisingly, despite the hotel’s affordable rate, breakfast is complimentary.
What we love best: Providing a view of the volcano that’s comparable to the view obtained at many other La Fortuna hotels, this hotel is a fraction of the cost of many other hotels in the vicinity.
Tip: If you’re interested in participating in an ATV tour while in La Fortuna, check out La Pradera del Arenal‘s in-house ATV tours.
Choose La Pradera del Arenal if you want a quiet place that isn’t overpriced where you can marvel at gardens and the resident volcano.
Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to the Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort: 7 minutes
Feeling out of place in down-to-earth La Fortuna but welcome nonetheless is the Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort, a fancy, five-story hotel that towers over other properties in the vicinity. Luxury here isn’t understated; it’s apparent in the shiny, porcelain floors that anchor the modern rooms and suites; the top-floor bar that’s outfitted in red leather furniture; the grand hot springs, sauna, and spa; and the executive-style restaurant where a complimentary breakfast is served. Architectural design elements, art, and sculptures supply additional class, and the building’s curved construction ensures each room’s balcony faces the Arenal Volcano.
What we love best: This hotel provides what would otherwise be missing from the mix of La Fortuna hotels: a stately highrise that splashes the region with opulence.
Tip: The view of the volcano is better from the top of the hotel, so ask for a room on the highest floor possible.
Choose the Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort if you want to stay at a ritzy hotel around Arenal.
Tabacon sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to Tabacon: 15 minutes
As a top small-scale resort, Tabacon has some big expectations to fulfill. Fortunately, it’s easy to fall in love with this place thanks to its world-renowned, river-fed, public hot springs; immaculate rooms and suites; and excellent customer service. The accommodations here are spread out over a few two-story buildings, which are surrounded by well-kept, tropical gardens and connected by a series of flat paths. The resort’s main restaurant is an open-air, poolside spot where you’ll enjoy a complimentary, lavish buffet breakfast full of fresh fruits, baked goods, and traditional Costa Rican preparations, plus loads of toppings like natural jellies and chopped nuts. Top-drawer services, like valet parking and nightly turndown service, are also complimentary, as is access to the hot springs. As a guest of Tabacon, you’ll also gain access to the hot springs two hours before the public each day, and you’ll be able to lounge around the Shangri-La Gardens, an adults-only area that has additional hot springs and private cabanas. Rooms have beds as soft as clouds, a welcome appetizer, and a luxurious bathroom with a thermal-water-equipped shower.
What we love best: This hotel exemplifies how nature can be luxurious and how natural elements like stone, plants, and water can create sublime spaces for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Tip: Each night’s stay at Tabacon buys two days’ worth of hot springs access: the day you arrive and the day you leave. So long as you continue to wear your resort bracelet, you can continue to enjoy the thermal-water river and pools for the rest of the day after you officially check out.
Choose Tabacon if you want to treat yourself to a stay at a luxurious, health-conscious, natural-feeling resort.
Volcano Lodge & Springs
The Volcano Lodge & Springs sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.
Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to the Volcano Lodge & Springs: 9 minutes
The family-friendly Volcano Lodge & Springs deserves more kudos than it receives. Often overshadowed by high-end resorts, it manages to shine in several areas, including its hot springs which take the shape of winding lagoons and are available only to hotel guests, its network of on-site nature trails which are great for bird-watching, and its charming restaurant which is most inviting come nightfall when it twinkles under the glow of soft lights. The complimentary breakfast is filling and includes an omelet station. There is also a regular swimming pool, a comfortable poolside lounge, a sauna, and a children’s playset. The rooms are slightly less impressive but in no way disappointing; they’re simply outfitted with beds, a seating area, a bathroom, and a large window that captures garden views. If you’re looking for the Arenal Volcano, you’ll see it peeking out above the tropical foliage that fans out around the grounds; the view is particularly impressive from the hot springs and pool area.
What we love best: Despite sitting along Road 142 and neighboring other hotels, this lodge feels lightyears away from its surroundings thanks to smart planning that hides nearby constructions and shields noise. Overnight stays here feel like an escape.
Tip: Dine at the on-site restaurant for dinner. The food is surprisingly good and the prices are reasonable.
Choose the Volcano Lodge & Springs if you want to feel like you’ve escaped to a secluded, nature-friendly hotel without actually traveling far from town.
Map of La Fortuna hotels
The map below shows where all of the La Fortuna hotels discussed above are located.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Which La Fortuna hotels have you experienced?